Does your sick pay policy have a purpose?

Do employers pay sick pay because:

a) They have to
b) They feel it is the right thing to do
c) They want staff to feel supported and valued
d) They want employees back to work quickly

The answer is that each employer will make sick pay payments for different reasons depending on the culture of the business, affordability, negotiated agreements and sector trends.

When writing a sick pay policy, there are many aspects to consider:

• The needs of the individual vs the needs of the business – do you want presenteeism? People who are at their desk because they can not afford not to be, even though they should be off sick. They are not effective while they are there, they may make mistakes and they are spreading their germs which could lead to larger numbers of staff taking time off.
• What can the business afford to pay – From experience, most small companies and increasing numbers of large companies pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This means the employee is unpaid for the first three days and then receives payment for each work day absence. This is currently calculated at a rate of £79.15 per week (reviewed each April).
• What the company needs to offer to be competitive within their sector / locality – when companies have to compete for staff, benefits are often viewed as an indicator of the culture of the business. To recruit the best staff, employers must be able to offer a package in line with or exceeding competitors for local talent.

These are just a few of the issues which need to be addressed when developing a sick pay policy. Employers must be legally compliant and from there, it is a case of what fits your company and what are you trying to achieve.

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